Local finds for everyone you love.

Paging Santa’s helpers! We’re here for you: Every year we scour local stores for the very best presents for all ages. Shop local this year (and tell the shopkeepers we sent our best regards from the North Pole.)


A twofer! Great for moms (and dads) who love to jog and hike even in Portland’s drizzle. We especially love the fleece-lined hood of the Mamababy poncho. Bonus: This is the brainchild of a local mama, Jess Desbrow. At Clever Cycles, Sweetpea’s, and togethergear.com. $189.

Start them off right with this awesome board book series that translates beloved classics into baby friendly language. We’re especially partial to the Little Miss Austen books because, you know, Mr. Darcy FOREVER. At Kids at Heart and Powell’s. $9.99.

Made of sustainable bamboo, this nifty mighty elephant from Petit Collage is the perfect size for little hands; as babies gain mobility, they can use it as a push toy. At Presents of Mind. $19.50.

These all-wooden, hand-painted name trains from Bernie Sanders’ home state of Vermont grow with your kids. They’re just the right size for little hands to grab and push; later on, you can use them to help kids learn to spell their names. At Oodles 4 Kids, Thinker Toys and Let’s Play. $5 per letter.


Green Toys has colonized Portland — their toys, made from recycled plastic milk jugs, can be found everywhere from grocery stores to gear shops. We’re partial to this cool rocket, which has mini astronauts for kids to launch into space from the bathtub. Oodles 4 Kids and Learning Palace. $24.99.

Kids this age love toys that make some noise, so why not encourage them to be musical? We recommend the Meowsic Keyboard by Just B, which comes complete with a sing-a-long microphone and (very important) an automatic off switch. At Child’s Play and Target. $26.

Maybe you’re a low screen time family who is nevertheless sick of wrangling your kid at a restaurant while waiting for their food to come? Solution: try these fun Petit Collage coloring book/placemat hybrids. Kids can illustrate, and then eat on top of their creation. At Presents of Mind, Child’s Play and Grasshopper. $12.

We dig the great design here: The Pewi Ybike is a walker that turns into a riding toy — bonus points for the non-marking rubber wheels that won’t scratch up your floors. At Piccolo Mondo, Child’s Play and Oodles 4 Kids. $64.99.


Artists have been using fruit and vegetable extracts to create paint since time immemorial. Now your kids can, too, with this new line from San Francisco-based Glob paints. (Think colors like “plum” and “basil.”) At Collage and SpielWerk Toys. $20.

Larry the dog is the brainchild of former Walt Disney illustrator and now Seattle resident John Skewes. Kids will learn a gentle lesson about geography in his Larry Gets Lost in Portland picture book — and will have fun spotting beloved local landmarks, too. At Powell’s and Kids at Heart. $16.99.

It’s never too early to start teaching kids about money and the household budget. Seattle-based Moonjar makes it easier with their classic save-spend-share jar. (The “share” option is a really nice way to combat all that holiday excess, too.) At Child’s Play. $7.95.

Kids this age love their lovies, and it’s the worst when they lose them. Wrap them up safely with the San Diego, Calif., designed and made Solly Dolly wrap. The Bull and The Bee. $25.

Ages 6-10

Perhaps you don’t think your kids should be playing with knives? Think again. From our friends at Trackers Earth comes this rad new book, which details the proper care and maintenance of a kid’s first carving knife, plus detailed knife-skills instructions, including how to carve your own spoon and whistle. Bundle the book with nifty Swedish-made Mora knives for sale at the Trackers store and save on both items. $30 for knife/book combo.

Two elementary-school-aged brothers from North Carolina designed these kid-friendly, totally safe bows and arrows for aspiring Robin Hoods. We especially like the foam-tipped, hand-tied arrows that come in an array of fun colors. At Thinker Toys. $19.99.

Why should grown-ups who geek out over games have all the fun? Set up your kids with My First Carcassone, and they, too, can build empires in medieval landscapes to their heart’s content. At Thinker Toys and SpielWerk Toys. $34.99.

Fed up with how few women are high up in STEM jobs? The next generation WILL change that and it starts here, with the Yellow Scope chemistry kit lovingly designed by two local Portland moms. (Psst, we think it’s great for boys, too.) At Child’s Play and iSpark Toys. $44.

Ages 11 & up

Kids not quite ready for a learner’s permit, but still wanting wheels? Try the Zippy Flyer, a surfer-
inspired lightweight skateboard with its own line of coordinating safety gear. At Thinker Toys. $60.

Mindtwister USA

Generation Xers who grew up on The Baby-Sitters Club series will feel all kinds of nostalgic about
the Bizainy Babysitting Kit, which contains everything your kiddo needs to watch the neighbor’s rugrats. Paging Kristy, Mary Anne, Claudia and Stacey, stat! At Thinker Toys. $30.

Where to Buy

the Bull & the Bee: 1540 SE Bybee Blvd., Portland

Clever Cycles: 900 SE Hawthorne Blvd., Portland

Child’s Play Toy Store: 2305 NW Kearney St., Portland

Collage: 1639 NE Alberta, 7907 SE 13th Ave. and 3701 SE Division, all in Portland

Grasshopper: 1816 NE Alberta, Portland

iSpark Toys: 925 NE Orenco Station Loop, Hillsboro

Kids at Heart Toys: 3445 SE Hawthorne Blvd., Portland

Learning Palace: Locations in Portland, Beaverton, Clackamas and Vancouver

Let’s Play: 263 East Main St., Hillsboro

Oodles 4 Kids: 7727 SE 13th Ave,Portland

Piccolo Mondo: 4768 NW Bethany Blvd., Portland

Powell’s: 1005 West Burnside St., Portland

Presents of Mind: 3633 SE Hawthorne Blvd., Portland

SpielWerk Toys: 3808 N Williams Ave., #121, Portland

Sweetpea’s: 8235 SE 13th, Suite 1, and 1223 NE Alberta, Portland

Thinker Toys: 7784 SW Capitol Highway, Portland

Trackers Earth: 4617 SE Milwaukie Ave., Portland

moms & dads

You know by now that good parenting often calls for a high dose of caffeine. Coffee poured into one of Bread and Badger’s mugs (proudly etched with heart tattoos) just might help you survive another day of toddlerhood. At Crafty Wonderland. $25.

Sweet initial necklaces from Portland artist Totinette Bijoux reveal who holds the keys to mom’s heart. At Crafty Wonderland and Queen Bee Studio + Store. Initial necklace, $24; heart necklace, $28.

Yup, everyone and their mother is moving to Portland. This print from Astoria artist Sarah Landwehr focuses on the positive. At Tender Loving Empire and Lark Press. $30.

get carded

Dapper dads would appreciate a gift card to Brick & Mortar Barbershop where cuts come with a microbrew or a whiskey. Boys Fort in downtown PDX is the man cave of boutique shopping, full of stuff dads don’t necessarily need, but will undoubtedly find cool.

For a date-night dress for a mama from a local designer, try Amelia or Radish Underground. And of course, a little R&R is the ultimate gift for any mom. A gift card to Zenana Spa is sure to please. Isn’t it time mama got a new pair of shoes? Imelda’s has everything from practical waterproof boots to fanciful heels.

GIVE: “We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give.” ~Winston Churchill

Here are a few of the charitable organizations that Metro Parent staffers love to support. We hope you’ll join us in donating to them, or volunteering your time.

Eastside accounts rep Kristy Olsen picks the Portland Police Bureau’s Sunshine Division which has been distributing free food and clothing to families through the metro area for more than 90 years.

Marketing Director Tabitha Rhodes singles out the Rose City Rollers, saying they are, “One of the largest derby organizations in the world — with over 500 skaters, officials and volunteers — the Rose City Rollers provide a supportive community where differences are celebrated, commitment to improvement is encouraged, and being your unique self is valued. Their junior programs give girls ages 7-17 the opportunity to stay active, develop a healthy mind and body image, be part of a team and ‘skate fast and hit hard.'”

Customer Accounts Manager Christie Kline says the Portland Food Project is “so simple and cool and easy for families” — donors get a reusable grocery bag which they slowly fill over a month or two by buying an item or two for the bag each shopping trip. Coordinators pick up all the bags and deliver them to the Food Project for distribution.

Senior Accounts Manager Ali King picks Big Brothers Big Sisters of Columbia/Northwest. She says, “My best friend has had a ‘little sister’ from there for about 8 years now and we have seen firsthand what a wonderful service this program provides.”

And westside account executive Iluska Ikeda loves the Circus Project, which works with homeless and at-risk youth and young adults, to help them build physical, mental and emotional strength via teaching them circus skills.

Julia Silverman
Latest posts by Julia Silverman (see all)
Scroll to Top